Higgins Announces Passage of Two Bills Aimed at Assisting Child Care Facilities & Working Families during COVID
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced passage of H.R. 7027, the Child Care is Essential Act, and H.R. 7327, the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act. The two bills aim to assist child care providers in dealing with the costs they are facing as a result of the coronavirus outbreak as well as assisting working families with access to care.
“Our child care facilities are another vital and necessary part of our community that was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. These two bills will help shore up their financials so they can continue providing the care our children deserve,” said Higgins. The child care industry has been severely impacted by COVID-19. Many child care providers remain closed as a result of the pandemic, with one report by the Center for American Progress finding that if the child care industry does not receive sufficient financial support, as much as half of the country’s child care capacity is at risk of permanent closure.
The Child Care Is Essential Act (H.R. 7027) would provide $50 billion in appropriations for the Child Care Stabilization Fund to award grants to child care providers during and after the coronavirus public health emergency. The grants, available to child care centers and home-based child care providers, can be used for: staffing, personal protective equipment, safety measures, professional development, mortgage/rent/utilities, mental health support for children and employees, and other goods, services and modifications necessary in response to coronavirus. A condition of the grant requires child care providers to provide families with relief on payments.
The Child Care for Economic Recovery Act (H.R. 7327) would modify certain tax provisions to increase and make refundable the child and dependent care tax credit and allow employers payroll tax credits for certain fixed expenses of child care facilities closed due to coronavirus. The bill also provides $850 million to states to fill in gaps in child care availability for essential workers and it makes a $10 billion investment over the next four years to improve child care facilities.
Congress previously approved an additional $3.5 billion in funding for the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) as part of the CARES Act in late March to provide additional support to child care providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. In May the House passed the Heroes Act, which would provide another $7 billion in CCDBG funding, along with $850 million in funding for child care for essential workers through the Social Services Block Grant.